It was big news around the retail world yesterday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart – the biggest retailer on the planet with global sales of $560 billion last year – was going to cut about 200 jobs from its corporate staff. The giant company has said it is looking to trim its expenses in light of narrowing margins and slowing sales.
But do the math, folks, this is much ado about…well, hardly anything at all:
• According to a CNBC report in 2019 – unconfirmed by Walmart at the time – there are approximately 14,000 employees at its corporate headquarters offices in Arkansas, centered on its main office in Bentonville near where Sam Walton founded the company in 1962. So this payroll cut represents about 1.4 percent of the total number of office staff it employs at its corporate offices.
• The Journal article, which Walmart did not confirm, says the layoffs will be in areas including merchandising, global technology and real-estate. While it’s not clear what levels of staffing are being eliminated, the website Salary.com estimates that the average “office manager” salary in the state of Arkansas is about $73,000. Even assuming that all the positions being cut are at that level – and not lower office workers at clerk and assistant levels – that works out to $14.6 million in salary savings on an annualized basis.
So, let me get this straight. Walmart, which employs 2.3 million people around the world and had SG&A expenses of about $116 billion last year, is going to cut 200 jobs resulting in a savings of about $15 million – million, not billion – over the course of a year. Or 0.00008 of its total global workforce and 0.001 of its total costs.
In what business world is this news? And in what corporation is this a big deal?
I’m listening, Bentonville.